To begin his Friday press conference on Zoom, Ron Rivera told reporters to get their phones out because he had some news. What Rivera went on to reveal was disappointing — but also not all that surprising.
The Washington Football Team will be placing wide receiver Curtis Samuel on the short-term injured reserve, the coach went on to announce. That move means Samuel will miss at least the first three games of the season as he keeps working back from a groin injury that's bothered him since May.
The first contest he'd be eligible to play is Week 4 at the Falcons.
As for why the franchise is choosing to put Samuel on IR now — remember, on Wednesday, there was pushback on the idea — Rivera explained that he wants the receiver to focus on "getting better" as opposed to "having to worry about" suiting up.
"We just want to take that concern and worry off his shoulders a little bit," he said.
Samuel's last action came on Wednesday, when he suffered an apparent setback during individual drills and pulled himself off the field soon thereafter.
Though Rivera responded to the early inquiries about Samuel's situation calmly, that changed when the word "surgery" was mentioned a couple of times in the middle of the presser.
"Don't even bring that up," Rivera said. "I don't want to start any rumors or any crap... It's not even on the table."
With Samuel sidelined, Terry McLaurin will likely face more attention from the Chargers' defense Sunday in Washington's opener. Samuel's backups, most notably Cam Sims and Dyami Brown, will be forced into larger roles, too.
Now, the only positive in this dilemma is that Samuel hasn't really been involved at all with the Burgundy and Gold's offense this offseason. Therefore, Sims, Brown and others have rotated in plenty with Ryan Fitzpatrick and the starters.
Hopefully, there's some chemistry there that otherwise wouldn't have existed if Samuel had been healthy all summer.
With that in mind, Rivera was confident that Samuel's absence won't impact his team's gameplan for the matchup with Los Angeles.
"We have enough guys that can do what Curtis does and we feel good about those guys," he said. "That's why we don't feel any pressure as far as doing what we're doing."